hot  /  reviews  /  videos  /  cblogs  /  qposts

Indie Nation: AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!!

7:20 PM on 06.30.2009 // Anthony Burch

"Indie Nation" highlights interesting games from the independent scene. Series installments are written pretty much whenever we feel like it.

I've tried to start this post about a dozen times, forever attempting to write an opening sentence that begins with, "imagine a game where..." before descending into confusion and unhelpful metaphors. Maybe this game is like the exact opposite of Jumping Flash, I thought. Perhaps it's a skydiving game mixed with retro, high score-hungry sensibilities. Maybe it's the Battletoads wind tunnel level turned into an entire game, only it's in 3D.

In reality, though,  AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!: A Reckless Disregard for Gravity is none of those things. Or, maybe, all of them. All I can say for sure is that it's a game about jumping off the tops of buildings, falling as close to other buildings as is perilously possible, and flipping off spectators as you plummet to the earth. Oh, and it's quite fun. That, I can say for sure.

It's also got one of the coolest release formats I've seen outside of Mount & Blade. The full game is technically scheduled for a Q3 2009 release, but is available for preorder now. Doing so will not only get you a discount of ten bucks off the eventual $25 launch price, but will also net you a download link for what the developers have humbly dubbed a "pre-release demo."

This "demo" comprises nearly half the full game; thirty of the eventual eighty levels. You can preorder the game here, or hit the jump for my impressions of the demo.

Just in case I hadn't used enough poor analogies before the jump, watching the below gameplay trailer made me think of another. A Reckless Disregard for Gravity is sort of like Burnout: if you're not constantly feeling the anxiety of being an inch away from death, you're not playing it right.

Players earn points by getting dangerously close to buildings, smashing point plates, and flipping off protestors -- all while plummeting to the ground, feet-first. Despite what the immensely fast-paced gameplay might initially lead you to believe, AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!! rewards finesse and skill over all else. It's not just about the exhilarating fun of flying to the ground at terminal velocity; it's about looking damn good while you do so. Any schmuck can fall; it takes a skilled player to fall with style

Levels contain multiple routes and allow for multiple scoring strategies, which surprised me quite a bit. You wouldn't expect a game as seemingly linear as this to afford the player as much strategic choice as it does; do you want to go after the point plates and use your triple-shot powerup to double the score you receive from them, or do you want to focus more on hugging the buildings? Which route will you take to get to the end? 

The level design seems pretty solid based on the levels I played, which is a relief. Even though every stage tasks you to basically accomplish the same goals -- fall, score, don't die -- they still feel individually varied enough that I never felt bored. One stage might task you to follow a twisting chain of point plates down to the landing pad, while another might challenge you to fly as close as possible to a mountain for as long as possible before finally deploying your parachute. Some of my favorite levels involve alternately flipping off and giving thumbs-ups to  protestors and fans as you plummet past them.

It may not come as much of a surprise given the title, but AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!! also possesses a tremendous amount of character. The level descriptions in the main menu tell behind-the-scenes stories of the game's development, or make charmingly unrelated jokes (the description for one unfinished level reads, "people who tell you to press alt+F4 for God mode are assholes"). One level, buyable for 3000 "teeth" (the currency one earns by performing well), unironically functions as a noninteractive meditation aid. A blurry visualization of a typical level appears onscreen as a relaxing voice tells you when to breathe. It adds nothing to the gameplay, and can actually feel like sort of a gyp once you've paid for it. But it's bizarre. It's got personality. It's different.

Analogies aside, maybe those last three sentences are the best way to describe AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!

There's only one thing that really bugs me about AaaaaAAaaaAAAaaAAAAaAAAAA!!, but it's a relatively large thing: the campaign progression. Rather than just unlocking new levels as you complete old ones, you've gotta purchase new levels using the aforementioned "teeth" points. Getting a five-star ranking on a level nets you so many, getting a four-star earns a little less, and so on. In theory, this structure ensures that the player will not progress to new levels until they have learned the necessary skills to achieve high scores in previous stages. In practice, it just made me feel that no matter how well I was doing, I wasn't doing well enough. Though I received four-star rankings on the nearly all of the first twenty levels I played, I was perpetually only a few hundred teeth away from total bankruptcy. I was only barely able to afford new levels, even though the star-based grading system suggested I was actually doing well. 

As such, I didn't get much of a chance to feel the sheer thrill and intensity of some of the better-designed levels as I was constantly worrying about getting a decent star rating. AsI flew through the air with reckless abandon, I couldn't stop myself from worrying if I would get enough teeth to advance to the next level, or if I'd have to spend the next few hours redoing previous stages to get more cash. I would liken this to worrying about one's taxes while driving in a demolition derby. If the game were structured in a more conventional sense (say, where a new level is unlocked so long as the player achieves greater than a 3-star ranking on the preceding level) I think I would have had a much more enjoyable time.

Even with the unfortunate level structure, though, it's still a damn enjoyable, and damn sizable demo. If the above video interests you at all, I'd highly recommend preordering the full thing if only for the 30-level demo.

 Setup email comments

Unsavory comments? Please report harassment, spam, and hate speech to our moderators, and flag the user (we will ban users dishing bad karma). Can't see comments? Apps like Avast or browser extensions can cause it. You can fix it by adding * to your whitelists.

Status updates from C-bloggers

Osc44 avatarOsc44
You ever dream of flying through the clouds, but couldn't so you just watch TV? Me neither.
Zack Furniss avatarZack Furniss
Oh GOOD, The Flock is awful. I was hoping to break my high review score streak. (this is a joke)
Zack Furniss avatarZack Furniss
So many PAX things to write. So many.
Shinta avatarShinta
Bwahahahaha .... my helicopter now arrives in the middle of a fight blaring "Take on Me" on the loudspeakers. Metal Gear 5, 10/10. [youtube][/youtube]
OverlordZetta avatarOverlordZetta
Oh neat, Hollow Knight got through the Colosseum of Fools stretch goal while no one was looking. Shame they couldn't get to three characters but the game still looks awesome.
techsupport avatartechsupport
S Rank is so satisfying. Too bad I rarely earn it!
Bardley avatarBardley
My MGSV: The Phantom Pain playthrough has quickly devolved into a journey to fill out Big Boss' 80's synth pop collection. And I couldn't be happier.
Dinosir avatarDinosir
You know what I love? Game tgat force you to connect to their servers even though you only want to play single player. Then the servers are down an the game tries for like 5 minutes, not even giving you a way to cancel the process, you just have to wait
Pixie The Fairy avatarPixie The Fairy
In today's Spelunky daily challenge, I was nibbled by a bat that pushed me into a Tiki trap that landed me dead on Kali's alter. Kali was pleased with the bat's sacrifice.
Shinta avatarShinta
It's pretty good guys ... [youtube][/youtube]
Shinta avatarShinta
FFXV is supposedly 10x as big as The Witcher 3. Wow ... [img][/img]
RadicalYoseph avatarRadicalYoseph
The ending of "Return to Crookback Bog" in TW3 I got was so depressing. Wow. I think I need a break...
Shinta avatarShinta
I'm sitting here play Metal Gear V, absolutely loving it. But in the back of my mind ... all I can think about is Mario Maker. I'm really excited for that game!
Patrick Hancock avatarPatrick Hancock
Sold a digital item on Steam, that came with a physical item, for more than the cost of the physical item. This is the second time I've done this. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
GoofierBrute avatarGoofierBrute
Everyone right now is playing Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain. And here I am, waiting for Super Mario Maker to come out. And also Star Fox Zero.
Mike Martin avatarMike Martin
Patrick Hancock hates babies. Rick and Morty.... I wish I could view thee second season. I need to play MGSV. I spray farted earlier.
IDrawOnTape avatarIDrawOnTape
my wife and i got into Rick and Morty the same time we got into Gravity Falls. Man, some good cartoons out right now.
El Dango avatarEl Dango
Rick and Morty is like reverse Archer. Instead of everyone being insanely quick-witted, everyone stutters, pauses and repeats themselves a lot.
MeanderBot avatarMeanderBot
Drew a preeeeeeety sweet thing for the August edition of Cblog Recaps. Keep an eye out for it!
Cosmonstropolis avatarCosmonstropolis
No spoilers or anything, but the MGS V troll is amazing. I went from concerned to laughter in a matter of minutes.
more quickposts



Invert site colors

  Dark Theme
  Light Theme

Destructoid means family.
Living the dream, since 2006

Pssst. konami code + enter

modernmethod logo

Back to Top

We follow moms on   Facebook  and   Twitter
  Light Theme      Dark Theme
Pssst. Konami Code + Enter!
You may remix stuff our site under creative commons w/@
- Destructoid means family. Living the dream, since 2006 -